Using a critical friend for a small project<br />Presentation for discussion within BadCoP community of practice<br />Paul...
Terminology<br />Terminology really is worth thinking about !!<br />Critical friend is a very established phrase but is ac...
The three types:<br />	(1) Critical friendship<br />Based on friendship where participants mutually critique their practic...
	(2) Critical companionship<br />A relationship where friendship is based on advantage. This is recognised by both parties...
	(3) Critical acquaintance<br />This applies where the advice is from an expert or from an authority organisation or even ...
What mainly do we expect the possible critical person to do?<br />Have a mission to make our project succeed<br />Balance ...
What do we expect them not to do?<br />Evaluate, mentor or act as a consultant<br />Make decisions for the project team<br...
Some principles we can give to a potential critical person<br />The critical person as arranged by us (and not specified b...
Setting up the relationship between our project team and the critical person<br />It is a two-way process between what our...
Following the format of the checklist,  the early discussion and meeting(s) will cover:<br />1) reporting mechanisms and t...
Later the relationship will cover:<br />Helping our project team achieve friendly, honest critical analysis through an und...
	Helping our project team deal with any really difficult issues (not identified our initial risk assessment) by:<br />a) s...
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Using a critical friend for a small project

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Using a critical friend for a small project

  1. 1. Using a critical friend for a small project<br />Presentation for discussion within BadCoP community of practice<br />Paul Mayes September 2010 <br />http://betterprojects.jiscinvolve.org/wp/<br />paul.mayes@gmail.com<br />
  2. 2. Terminology<br />Terminology really is worth thinking about !!<br />Critical friend is a very established phrase but is actually used to describe very differing relationships<br />We are adapting the three types suggested by Paul Gibbs and Panayiotis Angelides<br />(“Understanding friendship between critical friends” Improving Schools vol 11 no 3 Nov 2008 p213 – 225)<br />
  3. 3. The three types:<br /> (1) Critical friendship<br />Based on friendship where participants mutually critique their practice. This critiquing is within the nature of the friendship, which extends prior to and beyond the specific critique. It is based on trust and respect for wellbeing of both parties<br />Do we have organisations or people who are real ‘friends’ and would help us ?<br />
  4. 4. (2) Critical companionship<br />A relationship where friendship is based on advantage. This is recognised by both parties. Trust has already been established. The relationship will have a defined time span. It could be seen by our potential critical companion as collaborative research.<br />Is this type more suitable or easier for us to arrange than critical friendship?<br />
  5. 5. (3) Critical acquaintance<br />This applies where the advice is from an expert or from an authority organisation or even unsought. Generally the intent is an organisational goal with a contractual relationship.<br />May apply if a grantgiver or stakeholder gives us what they might term a ‘critical friend’<br />Describes one-off obtaining of expert advice<br />
  6. 6. What mainly do we expect the possible critical person to do?<br />Have a mission to make our project succeed<br />Balance an informal approach with a critical eye<br />Facilitate friendly, honest and critical analysis and shared professional reflections amongst the project team<br />Maintain confidentiality, frankness, sensitivity and independence<br />Provide advice and both ‘political’ and practical suggestions<br />[see further ideas for this and later slides at http://critical-friends.org/daedalus/cfpublic.nsf/guidelines?openform]<br />
  7. 7. What do we expect them not to do?<br />Evaluate, mentor or act as a consultant<br />Make decisions for the project team<br />Report formally to any project stakeholders either external (eggrantgivers) or internal to our institution<br />
  8. 8. Some principles we can give to a potential critical person<br />The critical person as arranged by us (and not specified by a stakeholder):<br />1) will have to balance many contradictions<br />2) is not part of the project team and shares none of the<br />responsibilities of the project<br />3) helps our project team recognise its difficulties, challenges - and<br />potential solutions to these - but will not take on responsibility for<br />managing conflicts or concerns<br />4) helps our project team make connections to other projects, initiatives<br />or individuals<br />5) helps our project team to mitigate risks and exploit opportunities in<br />practice<br />6) helps our project team to make an explicit move to reflective practice<br />and active horizon scanning for the further duration of their practice<br />7) maintains confidentiality at all times and does not share information with <br />anyone outside the project team<br /> 8) ultimately aims to make their role as critical person superfluous<br />
  9. 9. Setting up the relationship between our project team and the critical person<br />It is a two-way process between what our team should do and what we hope the critical person will do<br />It will be supported by an updated comprehensive version of the checklist of issues that was developed for the JISC UKAN-SKILLS project<br />
  10. 10. Following the format of the checklist, the early discussion and meeting(s) will cover:<br />1) reporting mechanisms and timescales<br />2) clarifying the distinction between critical friendship and formal evaluation<br />3) what both parties can expect or will give in terms of support (how much and in what areas)<br />4) clarifying the importance and scope of confidentiality <br />5) any finance issues<br />In critical friend or critical companion situations there should be no need for the critical person to have to establish their role or credibility in the way a critical acquaintance may have to<br />
  11. 11. Later the relationship will cover:<br />Helping our project team achieve friendly, honest critical analysis through an understanding of the importance of a positive approach to feedback<br />Assisting our project team to achieve their output/outcomes including:<br /> 1) helping the team ensure that they are on target for<br /> delivery of intended output and outcomes<br /> 2) supporting the team in finding an appropriate balance between dealing with obstacles, meeting deadlines and reporting to stakeholders<br /> 3) supporting the team in finding effective ways of reestablishing<br /> an achievable project plan if a substantial change of direction in the project occurs.<br />
  12. 12. Helping our project team deal with any really difficult issues (not identified our initial risk assessment) by:<br />a) suggesting routes and processes that can enable solutions<br /> b) suggesting externals or resources that may be able to help<br /> c) helping the team decide whether its own management and governance arrangements may be able to help<br /> d) helping the team evaluate which problem solving processes and whose involvement are advantageous and where caution must be taken not to damage the long term credibility of the project or host institution.<br />Ensuring that our project team is fully engaging with our agreed community of practice strategies on communicating and engaging with stakeholders, on benefits realisation, on impact measurement, on continuation possibilities and on sustainability<br />

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